Zuccotti Park is not a restaurant, night club, art gallery or fashion show, but that won't stop culture writers from trying to convince us otherwise. In today's New York Times, for instance, nightlife columnist Sarah Maslin Nir decides to spend her night at Zuccotti Park, but finds that it isn't such an awesome scene. She reports:
[I]t seemed incumbent upon Nocturnalist to check out what has arguably become a hot new nightspot. (It was a decision we regretted somewhat as the knee socked us again, and then again, in the dark. The couple in the doublewide sleeping bag next to us, we realized with a jolt, may not have been sleeping.)
Well, we can cross "nightclub" off the list. With that failed experiment in mind, let's move on to other things Occupy Wall Street is not.
Today, New York Post restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo gives "Chez Zuccotti" as the headline terms it, the full-on review treatment, and, not surprisingly, Chez Zuccotti gets only mixed reviews:
Things started out on a feeble note with organic chicken soup with root vegetables, parsley, rosemary and thyme. The protesters better not count on it to whip a cold: the broth was thin and promptly began to separate.
But the kitchen rallied with a hearty salad of roasted beets, aged Tome Bergere sheep’s-milk cheese and chimichurri sauce with a dash of garlic.
That's actually somewhat better than you might expect for an outdoor, leaderless movement. After all, it's a protest, not a restaurant.
Music writers should have gotten the message when a rumored Radiohead Concert at Zuccotti Park turned out to be a false alarm, but undeterred New York Times music reporter James McKinley Jr. ventured downtown this week to hear what he might hear, and yesterday he noted the music behind the movement was somewhat lacking:
[T]he protesters in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan have yet to find an anthem. Nor is the rest of the country humming songs about hard times. So far, musicians living through the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression have filled the airwaves with songs about dancing, not the worries of working people ... The music at the protest has been all over the map, from 1960s folk to erudite rap to contemporary punk. Every day a circle of drummers plays for hours on end."
So the music at Occupy Wall Street isn't all that great, but then, it's a protest, not a rock show.
Last week, The New York Times Fashion section put together a slideshow entitled "What to Wear to a Protest?" Beside photographs of protesters are interviews with them that always begin with the question "What are you wearing?" (Don't they mean, "Who are you wearing?") Somewhat disparagingly, the slideshow's intro claims, "Their outfits were as divergent as their message," and indeed some protesters were better outfitted than others. But then, it's a protest, not a fashion show.
An art gallery:
To be fair, this time the Occupy Wall Street supporters sort of invited cultural criticism by hosting an actual art show, called "No Comment." This time, most outlets reported news of the show without disparaging it. Outlets like The New York Times to Rolling Stone didn't explicitly review the show, but did write fair-eyed appraisals. Rolling Stone's Zach Pontz reports:
Having lost her art-gallery job due to the recession, the 25-year-old [Anna Harrah] has joined the movement to protest Wall Street's corrosive effects on the economy. She is also using her curatorial skills to circumvent an art world she perceives as having become increasingly exclusive due to corporate wealth.
So there you go. It turns out Occupy Wall Street is both a protest and a legitimate art show. +1 for the culture writers.